Being a passenger or guest on a recreational boat may be an enjoyable event. However, a tragedy may result from the negligence or recklessness of a boat owner or its crew. An operator’s lack of care for passengers can lead to a fatal boating accident.
The U.S. Coast Guard reported that operator inattention, improper lookout, speeding and machine failure were the top contributing factors to a fatal accident. Like auto accidents, impairment is also a danger. Alcohol use was the leading cause of 16 percent of boating fatalities where the primary cause of an accident could be determined.
The Coast Guard found that there were 4,062 boating accidents in the United States in 2013 that led to 560 fatalities, 2,620 injuries and approximately $39 million dollars of damages. These victims also included children. The Coast Guard reported that 22 children under 13-years-old died from these accidents.
Connecticut suffered 234 boating accidents from 2009 through 2013. These accidents resulted in 30 deaths, according to the Coast Guard.
Boating safety courses decrease the risk of a fatality because only 13 percent of all fatalities occurred on boats where the operator took a Coast Guard-approved course. Smaller boats also increase the risk of death in that 80 percent of boating fatalities involved vessels less than 21 feet in length. The vessels with the highest number of casualties were open motorboats, personal watercrafts, cabin motorboats, canoes and kayaks and pontoon boats.
A family who suffers the loss of a loved one in a boating accident should promptly seek advice on whether the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit is feasible. Legal representation can help determine the cause of an accident and whether operator recklessness or negligence or machine breakdown was a factor in the death.
Source: U.S. Coast Guard, “Recreational Boating Statistics 2013,” Accessed on Sept. 15, 2014